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CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Thursday, 7 May 2015

Aussie employment up to 11.725 million

11.725 million employed

The ABS released its Labour Force figures for the month of April 2015 this morning.

While the headline figures will likely be reported as 2,900 jobs being "shed" in April, the March data was revised up to a whopping +48,100 gain in employment.

The net effect is that total reported employed persons at April 2015 hit 11,725 million on a trend basis for the first time.

Over the past year employment growth is still not quite where it needs to be to absorb population growth, and as a result the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate ticked back up to 6.2 per cent.

Let's take a look in three short parts.

Part 1 - Employment

Employment has increased by +177,600 on a seasonally adjusted basis over the past year, or +189,900 on a trend basis, which remains a little short of where employment growth needs to be (for what it's worth, the data has now largely fallen back into line with the unadjusted "original" figures).

Zooming in the chart to a 5 year time frame shows how the seasonally adjusted figures have not really been a great boon to the credibility of the survey over recent times,

Recent months had seen some strong growth in full time positions but this promising trend experienced a reversal in April with full time employment declining by -21,900. Part time employment increased by +19,000 in the month.

Part 2 - State versus state

Job gains were reported in April for New South Wales (+10k) and Queensland (+5k), offset by declines in Victoria (-5k) and Western Australia (-10k).

In truth, the monthly figures are highly unreliable. Over a more useful 12 month time frame we can see that New South Wales (+50k) and Victoria (+102k!) have added the bulk of the employment growth, while Western Australia (+28k) has accounted for most of the remainder.

Somewhat shockingly South Australia has recorded jobs "growth" over the past four years of -3,230. 

Even Tasmania has fared better in shedding -2,000 jobs over the same 4 year period.

Over the past five years New South Wales (+244k), Victoria (+220k), Western Australia (+187k) and Queensland (+102k) have created the greatest employment growth.

Part 3- Unemployment

Trend unemployment declined from 6.2 per cent to 6.1 per cent in April, while the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate recorded the same figures but in reverse, increasing by 0.1 per cent to 6.2 per cent ahead of the federal budget.

The state level unemployment figures continue to be nonsense with South Australia's unemployment rate roaring from 6.4 per cent to 7.1 per cent in a single month, while Tasmania repeated the trick in increasing from 6.6 per cent to 7.3 per cent in April.

Hearteningly Treasurer Hockey announced that $250 million of funding will be committed to the Australian Bureau of Statistics over the next 5 years to provide "critically required upgrades to its ICT systems". 

These figures would arguably be better reported on a quarterly basis unless such time as the accuracy can thereof be improved.

Smoothing the state level unemployment data on a 4mMA basis shows that unemployment rates in the resources states are trending up.

The Detailed Labour Force data later in the month is likely to continue to show that regional unemployment is rising as the mining investment boom unwinds, with jobs growth increasingly focussed upon the most populous capital cities